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Proposed Virginia Bill Would Require Installation of Ignition Interlock

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Based on a proposed bill, if you have been convicted of DUI in Virginia, you would be required to install an ignition interlock even if your BAC was below 0.15 percent.  The bill, known as House Bill 2041, would revise the current state law that requires only repeat DUI offenders and drivers with a BAC above 0.15 percent to install these devices.  This bill is being discussed for the second year in a row and many Virginia legislators are concerned.  If it passes, Virginia would join eight other states that have similar laws.

An ignition interlock system is a small handheld device that attaches to the dashboard.  Before a driver can start the car, he or she has to blow into the device, which will measure BAC.  The driver is also required to blow into the device at designated times while driving.  The engine will only start if the driver’s BAC is lower than .02 percent.

According to a member of the House Courts of Justice committee, the cost of obtaining and installing the ignition interlock system is estimated at $455.

Del. Sal Iaquinto R-84 is the sponsor of the bill and believes that if passed, it will deter repeat DUI offenses.  He said that there is a 64 percent decline in DUI recidivism after the ignition interlock system is installed.

Critics of the bill are concerned that it could negatively impact people who need to drive for their jobs and people with multiple vehicles.  Del. G. Manoli Loupassi, R-68 said that since so many people rely on company vehicles for their jobs, the proposed bill could have “desperate impact on a large number of people.”

If the bill is passed, it will go into effect January 1, 2010.


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